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TOPIC: VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio!

VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 04 Jan 2022 18:00 #1

  • John-KC2QMA
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As many of you may have heard terms like “ESSB”, “Wide-Band SSB”, “HI-FI SSB”, “Voodoo audio” and so on, ESSB is a very popular SSB voice/phone Mode that many people enjoy operating all over the world today. People have been experimenting with Hi quality SSB audio for many years and some have even gone through great lengths to achieve this by highly modifying their transceivers. But today with modern SDR radio technology this is much simpler to achieve since the software itself defines the transmit and receive audio parameters.

I think Expert Electronics has a great opportunity to be the leader in this exciting mode that is becoming more popular every day. One thing in my opinion that would be a game changer in the industry would be the ability to run VST audio plug-in's right inside ESDR3.

The benefits of having native VST plugin support built into ESDR3 is that it’s not just great for TX audio processing but is also great for RX audio processing for things such as noise reduction, Equalization and more.
To do this today the user must create a very complex setup including running separate DAW (digital audio workstation) software, complex audio connections using VAC that all cause more latency and extra unnecessary load on the CPU just to use a few VST plugins with ESDR3.

However by having built in native support for VST plugins in ESDR3 means the user can select what ever audio plugins that suit there needs and since the plug-in's are running native inside ESDR3 there is no need for any complex setup or unnecessary CPU load. This also allows Expert Electronics to not waist time and resources on the development of trying to add such advanced audio tools to ESDR3 when these very advanced VST plugins already exist today. This allows Expert Electronics to focus there time on adding other SDR Radio based features.

All that is needed to add VST plugin support to ESDR3 is to add the VST Host engine code library (available from Steinberg / Yamaha) to ESDR3, Add the necessary lines of code to create the proper audio I/O connections in the software and update the UI to accommodate the new VST plug feature. In my opinion I believe 4 slots for VST TX plugins and 4 slots maximum for VST RX plugins should be more than enough to satisfy almost any users needs keeping in mind that some plugins will add additional latency to the system and that not all VST plugins will work with ESDR3.

In my opinion by default ESDR3 should still come with the same basic set of built in audio tools that it comes with today because for most users these tools are sufficient. However if the user is looking for better TX & RX audio capabilities and want’s to install a VST plugin they should be able to go into the setting window and click a button titled “Enable VST Plugin Support”. When this button is enabled in the settings window ESDR3 will create 4 empty VST slots for the users TX & RX plugins and automatically route audio through the plug-in engine.
Now that “Enable VST Plugin Support” is turned on all TX & RX audio will pass through the plug-in engine. For example If I want to use a VST plugin for my voice you would select your mic input and set level as normal but now you can install a VST plugin into one of the 4 empty slots to enhance your TX voice quality. This would be the same for RX audio.

I believe this could be an area that sets Expert Electronics apart from all of the other companies and would make EE the first in the industry to have this state of the art audio capability built right into the SDR radio itself.
This could be in the "PRO" Version of ESDR3 in the future?

There are hundreds of plug-in's available some are even free, but this video shows of how just one single VST plugin can transform the users voice quality.



Imagine having the capability built into ESDR3!!!!!
Is everyone excited now :)
Thank You
John
KC2QMA


Below are some links and information about ESSB audio and VST Technology

Here is the ITU definition of ESSB:
“Extended SSB" or "eSSB" is any J3E SSB transmission that exceeds the audio bandwidth of standard or traditional 2.9kHz SSB J3E modes (ITU 2K90J3E) starting at 3kHz (ITU 3K00J3E), in order to support the fidelity required and desired for relative high fidelity, full range clean and articulate vocal audio.”

Please see N9UN page for an in depth definition about ESSB for ham radio.
http://www.nu9n.com/essb.html
CLICK HERE


Please see for more info on VST (Virtual Studio Technology)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Studio_Technology#VST_plugins
CLICK HERE
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Last Edit: 04 Jan 2022 18:55 by John-KC2QMA.
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 04 Jan 2022 22:14 #2

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Programming languages
Some info about VST Programing:

Steinberg's VST SDK is a set of C++ classes based around an underlying C API. The SDK can be downloaded from their website.

In addition, Steinberg has developed the VST GUI, which is another set of C++ classes, which can be used to build a graphical interface. There are classes for buttons, sliders and displays, etc. Note that these are low-level C++ classes and the look and feel still have to be created by the plugin manufacturer. VST GUI is part of the VST SDK and is also available as a SourceForge project.[13]

There are also several ports to other programming languages available from third parties.

Many commercial and open-source VSTs are written using the Juce C++ framework instead of direct calls to the VST SDK because this allows multi-format (VST, Audio Units and Real Time AudioSuite) binaries to be built from a single codebase.
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Last Edit: 04 Jan 2022 22:15 by John-KC2QMA.
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 10 Jan 2022 12:28 #3

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If you like this Idea please click the "THANK YOU" button at the bottom of this post.
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 10 Jan 2022 17:36 #4

  • Mackenao413
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I said this idea long ago hopefully someone runs with it
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 11 Jan 2022 19:13 #5

  • N8SDR
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Well, the concept is appealing

However I see issues -

1) just what version of VST, 32 or 64 and yes, I will note that 32 bits are going by the wayside as we progress but that can cause issues
2) VST are not equal in the different versions of an OS, that said there are MUCH more version of VST for windows then MAC and there also many more, free version for windows as well
3) who is going to support said VST support for the EESDR applications that can be a big issue

John, you know having worked in the recoding field that VST can be very temperamental to just what application and other VSTs are being used.

again, sounds like a great idea, but
73 Rick
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 11 Jan 2022 22:02 #6

  • John-KC2QMA
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1. The current version of VST Is 64Bit. Steinberg/Yamaha is also discontinuing 32bit support.

2. All VST plugins run the same across all platforms such as Windows, Mac OS, Linux because the 64bit SDK library from Steinberg/Yamaha IS cross platform. VST Is designed to run on multiple OS’s. (some exceptions)*.

3. Plugin support is the responsibility of the plugin manufacturer NOT Expert Electronics.

It is up to the user the decide what plugin(s) they choose to use and with the understanding that Expert Electronics CANNOT support a product that they don’t make.

But as you may know there are thousands of plugins available today some are paid and some are free. I’m sure some smart ham that's good with programming will start making custom plugins for EESDR3 for us to buy! Basically a new business for someone!!

Another cool thing is Expert Electronics could even make their own custom plugins themselves for EESDR that you could purchase separately. And these can be custom made specifically for EESDR3!!

It’s not as hard to do this as it may seem. All of the difficult programming is already done in the SDK, All EE has to do is make the basic SW connections and modify the UI for the new VST Feature.

If you like this Idea please click the "THANK YOU" button at the bottom of this post.
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Last Edit: 11 Jan 2022 22:05 by John-KC2QMA.
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 12 Jan 2022 06:37 #7

  • VK6NX
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The biggest problem is that VST was developed for MS and Apple; it is up until now not supported in Linux.
(And I hope you know that 99% of Qt development is Linux-based).

As per my understanding, EE tries to keep the principle of platforms cross-functionality. Hence, embedding audio format, which is not supported in one platform, would be a heavy deviation from the concept.

Also VST SDK and Qt6 ... are a bit diverse.

I am not promoting the idea "it must not be done". But it would be rather more realistic as third party SW addon.
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 12 Jan 2022 07:59 #8

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This list is from last year and has not been updated But now does support the latest versions of windows, macOS and Linux.
Now supports Win 11, macOS 12.0 Monterey & Linux
Is also fully compatible with Qt. library's.

Supported Platforms:
Operating System Architecture Compiler Notes

Windows 10 x86, x86_64 MSVC 2022, MSVC 2019, MSVC 2017
Windows 8.1 x86, x86_64 MSVC 2019, MSVC 2017
macOS 10.13, 10.14, 10.15, 11.0, 12.0 x86, x86_64, Apple Silicon Xcode 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
iOS 13, iOS 14 arm64 Xcode 11, 12, 13
Linux - Raspberry Pi OS (Buster) arm32 GCC 8.3 and higher Visual Studio Code
Linux - Ubuntu 18.04 LTS x86, x86_64 GCC 8.3 and higher Visual Studio Code, Qt Creator
Linux - Ubuntu 20.04 LTS x86, x86_64 GCC 8.3 and higher Visual Studio Code, Qt Creator

The source code of a VST plug-in is platform independent, but the delivery system depends on the platform architecture:
On Windows, a VST plug-in is a multi-threaded DLL (Dynamic Link Library), recently packaged into a folder structure.
On Mac OS X, a VST plug-in is a Mach-O Bundle
On Linux, a VST plug-in is a package.

You can learn more about VST programming see the Steinberg VST3SDK github page:
github.com/steinbergmedia/vst3sdk

Also remember what I said earlier:
"In my opinion by default ESDR3 should still come with the same basic set of built in audio tools that it comes with today because for most users these tools are sufficient. However if the user is looking for better TX & RX audio capabilities and want’s to install a VST plugin they should be able to go into the settings window and click a button titled “Enable VST Plugin Support”. When this button is enabled in the settings window ESDR3 will create 4 empty VST slots for the users TX & RX plugins and automatically route audio through the plug-in engine."

This way for people that want to just use the standard audio tools that come in ESDR3 they can. And for those who want to use VST plugins it's just a simple click to enable the feature.

Here is someone who has VST even running on a little Raspberry PI.


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Last Edit: 12 Jan 2022 08:52 by John-KC2QMA.
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 12 Jan 2022 08:51 #9

  • VK6NX
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Thanks, John, it sounds you truly believe that I am VST2/3 noob. Really appreciate your help and patience.

OK, I will narrow it down.
I was able to build VST3 for Qt5 and Qt6 under Linux. I was able to compile VST3-based project under Qt5. Failed to compile under Qt6.0.x - 6.2.x.
Highly possible it is because I am just noob and cannot RTFM. Alternatively (almost unlikely, of course) - it is just because ability to install SDK under some OS might be not enough to get the project compiled, even all required packages are present. At least at this current moment.

You know, Qt6 brought a lot of surprises for developers in terms of audio and video. Steinbergmedia is not an exclusion.

Anyway. I believe it is, certainly, up to EE dev team if they want to enter into this. As for myself, I would be absolutely not supporting to push them towards it within (at least) next 12 months.
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 12 Jan 2022 08:56 #10

  • John-KC2QMA
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Yes Pavel, This is for AFTER they finish ESDR3.
I wouldn't want to slow the great progress they are making with ESDR3!
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 12 Jan 2022 09:09 #11

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Makes no difference, whether it is after they finish ESDR3-basic, as well as ESDR3-Pro.

What will make difference (mandatory and essential) - when VST3 will become absolutely stable under Linux/Qt6. Obviously, because no one wants unstable feature.

P.S. BTW, what I see from my Win/Mac/Linux test builds, the VST3 functionality is significantly different for each OS. And it requires much more powerful PC HW. Not a show stopper, of course.
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 12 Jan 2022 14:40 #12

  • N8SDR
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VK6NX wrote:
Makes no difference, whether it is after they finish ESDR3-basic, as well as ESDR3-Pro.

What will make difference (mandatory and essential) - when VST3 will become absolutely stable under Linux/Qt6. Obviously, because no one wants unstable feature.

P.S. BTW, what I see from my Win/Mac/Linux test builds, the VST3 functionality is significantly different for each OS. And it requires much more powerful PC HW. Not a show stopper, of course.

Yes, it will, and just wait till the post regarding Audio Latency start!
73 Rick
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 13 Jan 2022 03:15 #13

  • VK6NX
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N8SDR wrote:
Yes, it will, and just wait till the post regarding Audio Latency start!
Yeah ... "just through more money into PC HW spec" ™ ...


I am not a fan of the idea to promote linux as an SDR desktop (due to the reason that 99 out of 100 HAMs, including myself, will be sunk).

But I have very bad feeling. That to use high GPU/CPU load processes (like VST) we will have to use special kernel build combined with recommended HW list. And this will trail large queue-of-problems.
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 13 Jan 2022 11:52 #14

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Maybe Apache Labs ANAN?
I hope Expert Electronics is the first in the industry to do VST but the ANAN users are really into Audio also so who knows who will be the first.
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VST Plugins, ESDR3 & The Best Transmit Audio In Ham Radio! 13 Jan 2022 12:26 #15

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Ah finally. That is the real root cause, then :so_happy:
Why I am not surprised? :music:
Last Edit: 13 Jan 2022 12:27 by VK6NX.
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